Pag-Ibig information officer Charmaine Pamela V Bautista will return to the Philippines on July 9, marking the end of her 11-year stay in Qatar.
Bautista told Gulf Times that she will be assigned to the Special Assistance to the Vice-President for International Operations main office in Manila. She arrived in Doha in June 2002 after completing an 11-year stint in Rome, Italy.
Pag-Ibig Fund or the Home Mutual Development Fund is a government agency that finances housing loans of Filipino workers in the Philippines and also those working abroad.
“I hope that every overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in the Middle East learns how to save every centavo of their earnings,” she said. “I want them to continue supporting government programmes because this is for them, for their future, and we are not here for nothing.”
Bautista urged OFWs to avail of Pag-Ibig benefits but should religiously pay their premiums based on their monthly salary.
She also stressed the importance of being an active member, saying they can avail of housing loans by completing a full 24-month contribution, which is about P2,400. A regular member pays a minimum of P100.
Ambassador Crescente Relacion described Bautista as an exemplary officer who is credited for the increased Pag-Ibig membership in Qatar. “During the early stage when Pag-Ibig (membership) was not mandatory, Bautista worked very hard even on weekends to reach out to workers to apply for memberships,” he said.
Bautista held numerous orientation sessions for groups of Filipinos working in different companies in Qatar in a bid to inform them how to avail of their benefits.
Under her leadership, she was able to help hundreds of OFWs in facilitating the release of their housing loans. These loans can also be used for house completion, renovation and refinancing of existing loans. Members are also entitled to disability, insanity and death benefits.
However, Relacion told Gulf Times that Pag-Ibig will no longer send permanent employees abroad in the future. Offices in various foreign posts will be manned by locally-hired staff as the members’ monthly contributions are now mandatory.
Labour attaché Leopoldo De Jesus lauded the information officer for her commitment and establishing a rapport with the Filipino community.
Citing Bautista’s promotional activities in Doha, he estimated that from 1,000 members 11 years ago, the figure has grown to about 115,000 now. “I salute her for a job well done,” he added.
A group of Filipinos known as Oriental Mindoro Association-Qatar (OMAQ), led by its adviser, vice-consul Kristine Bautista, held a surprise party for Bautista on June 28. Like other organisations, OMAQ organises various projects for a cause and fund campaigns in Qatar.
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